Politics Progressive by Kevin_Foley
From the Desk of Joe Ricketts
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Radical Social Agenda Killing GOP
by Kevin_Foley
March 12, 2012 10:10 AM | 1647 views | 2 2 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Contraception is and always has been a thorny social issue, especially for Catholics and politicians. So it was puzzling when Catholic politician Rick Santorum made birth control a campaign issue.

By stupidly stumbling into the contraception mine field, Santorum discovered why, over the decades, his GOP predecessors wisely steered clear of this highly personal, emotionally charged discussion best left to women, their partners and, if necessary, the clergy.

It all began with an Obama administration directive to Catholic institutions doing business in the secular world that said women must not be denied contraception under health insurance programs offered by these institutions. Because Catholic teaching forbids the use of birth control, a firestorm ensued stoked mainly by the far right media and Republican presidential candidates who fallaciously charged the president with waging a “war on religion.”

Enter Sandra Fluke, a Methodist student attending the Jesuit Georgetown University law school. She testified before a congressional committee expressing her gratitude for the new regulation. Fluke cited the financial burden students and other women at Catholic institutions shoulder in having to pay for a healthcare benefit typically covered by health insurance plans.

The episode was over. Or so we thought until Rush Limbaugh decided to weigh in.

Limbaugh vilely bullied Fluke on the air, calling her a “slut” and a “prostitute.” In the predictable uproar that followed, Limbaugh continued his vicious attacks on the 30-year-old. Not until his sponsors began leaving did Limbaugh finally blink, issuing a tepid apology, claiming Democrats made him do it.

"Against my own instincts, against my own knowledge, against everything I know to be right and wrong I descended to their level when I used those two words to describe Sandra Fluke,” declared Limbaugh on the air. “That was my error. I became like them, and I feel very badly about that."

More troubling than Limbaugh’s cowardly attack and bogus apology, however, is the deafening silence from the GOP presidential candidates and conservative leaders in Congress.

Most all have daughters or granddaughters but none has condemned Limbaugh’s cowardly assault on Fluke, no doubt because they’re afraid to earn the wrath of the unofficial leader of the conservative wing of their party.

Instead, the GOP has earned the wrath of a far more important constituency: women.    

Not only are women voters of all stripes lining up behind Obama in 2012, women also think Democrats should take control of Congress by a margin of 51 to 36 percent, according to a new poll done by Democrat Peter Hart and Republican Bill McInturff.

Having already angered and alienated Latinos, gays, conservative Democrats, moderate Republicans, union workers, young people, African Americans and many other voting blocks, Republicans seem intent on adding women to the list.

“It’s devastating,” a well known Republican strategist told the Washington Post. “I don’t think it’s going away.”

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Kevin Foley
March 13, 2012
Thanks for your thoughtful, insightful commentary Mr. Dunaway. Well done, sir.

As it happens I agree with most Americans that our country needs two viable, healthy parties that keep the extremists on the fringes. That way America's interests are best served because we facilitate compromise and agreeable disagreement.

Voting Your Own Best Interests
by Kevin_Foley
March 05, 2012 10:29 AM | 1750 views | 5 5 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Rich or poor, young or old, black or white, Republican or Democrat, Jew or gentile, there are common denominators for most of us when it comes to what we want out of life.

We all seek the health and wellbeing of our children and grandchildren so we can watch them grow and prosper. We want our homes, cars, roads, food, water, medicine, and air to be safe. We expect to be treated fairly in our personal and business lives. We all work for economic security for ourselves and our families, especially as we approach or enter our retirement years.

We take the guarantee of these for granted, but there was a time inAmericawhen none of them was assured. For the republic’s first one hundred years or so, it was anything goes, do as you please, don’t worry about the consequences.

In that political and economic climate, only a few managed to thrive. For everyone else, there was slavery and child labor; hunger; exploitation of workers; illiteracy; poverty; polluted rivers; disease; dangerous work places; ravaged landscapes; fraudulent financial markets; unstable banking; contaminated food and medicines; unsafe products.

Americans were not created equal in those days. Nor was everyone entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It took a Republican president to see the inequality of a system rigged to favor the wealthy and privileged. So Teddy Roosevelt pushed for reform. He broke up monopolies, advocated environmental conservation, fostered banking reform, protected food and drugs, and demanded railroad regulations.

Naturally Teddy was attacked, not by the many Americans he sought to help, but by the few who benefitted under the rigged system. Did TR succeed? His is one of the four faces onMt.Rushmore.

We’ve seen ample evidence that the system is once again rigged to benefit the few. The most glaring example was TARP. The banking and financial institutions that caused the economic disaster through reckless, unregulated practices were saved with hundreds of billions of tax dollars paid by the rest of us.

But it was we and not the perpetrators who suffered the consequences; tens of millions of lost jobs, foreclosed homes, drained bank accounts, and wrecked retirement savings.

Many of us are understandably angry. But much of our rage seems blind and misdirected and the few who cashed in on the rigged system this time around want to keep it that way. They know if we ever open our eyes, we’re going to realize who the culprits are.

So media surrogates belonging to the few stoke our anger with nonsense about fake birth certificates, fictitious “wars” on (fill in the blank), and phony conspiracy theories. Anything to deflect our attention away from the things we should really care about, like the future of our kids, our health and wellbeing, and our economic security.

Meanwhile, to maintain political and economic power, the few benefitting from the rigged system relentlessly push two demands. First they want bigger tax cuts for themselves because they claim to be “job creators.”

So-called “trickledown economics” will benefit every American, they say, but there is scant evidence to support what George H.W. Bush once called “voodoo economics.” In the decade since Bush Junior’s tax cuts were enacted, we’ve seen the slowest period of job growth in decades.

The few also insist regulations kill jobs. Yet, most if not all regulations aim to preventAmericafrom sliding back into the dark days of anything goes. The few reject regulations, not because they kill jobs, but because they cost money.

Remember when the car companies claimed seat belts were too expensive to install in every automobile? They managed to avoid regulation for years. It turned out they weren’t too expensive and millions of lives have been saved since seat belts were made mandatory.

Thus, these two arguments in favor of the few are deceptive. Tax cuts for the few don’t benefit the many, and regulations are necessary to protect the many from the few.

So, what are the things we should support?

Our tax code is a good place to start. Do any of us really want to pay a higher percentage on income taxes than somebody making millions or billions? The few think we should.

New banking and finance laws protect you from the predatory lending practices of banks and credit card companies. Do you really want to see them repealed so you can pay higher interest rates and fees? The few would like that.

Is your college graduate seeking a job? Do you really want your child going without health insurance while he or she looks for work? The few would prefer they do.

Is your teenager earning money for college? The few want to do away with the minimum wage.

Counting on Social Security and Medicare for yourself or a loved one? The few would like to eliminate both as we know them, the sooner the better.

Before you shout “class warfare” or “Marxism,” take a moment to consider what Teddy Roosevelt had to say more than a century ago:

“Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.”

TR knew the American Dream could never be fulfilled for the many as long as the playing field was tilted in favor of the few. So, one last question: What are your own best interests and who is trying to serve them?

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Kevin Foley
March 08, 2012
EM Buckner - I am well aware that Cobb is a very conservative county, but I also know there are many people out there who don't necessarily agree with everything they read on the MDJ opinion pages. I don't seek to incite, only to present the other side of the story. Thanks for your support and pass the word.

Osama bin Laden is Dead and GM is Alive
by Kevin_Foley
February 20, 2012 10:05 AM | 1675 views | 8 8 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Shortly after his inauguration in 2009, Rush Limbaugh famously said on the air he hoped President Obama would fail. This came at a time when our nation was reeling in the midst of the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression.
Overnight, millions of Americans lost their jobs, homes, and savings and Rush thought it was terribly amusing.
In rooting against the president, Limbaugh was pulling for the economic collapse of America. Now, three years later, with the economy surging along with Obama's poll numbers, we see how insignificant Limbaugh really is, still holed up in his palatial Palm Beach compound cheering against middle class Americans.
General Motors posted a record profit for 2011 after it was left for dead by the right this time three years ago. It's a testimony to the workers, unions and management of GM and the refusal of both President Bush and President Obama to give up on the auto giant. The pay-off for their faith is millions of jobs saved, directly at GM and throughout the company's supply chain (I leased a couple of GMC vehicles to help the process along...great vehicles, BTW).
Mitt Romney and other conservative naysayers who wanted to see the American auto industry collapse are now scrambling to politicize this triumph by calling it "crony capitalism," as if the bet Obama and the Democratic controlled congress laid in 2009 was a sure thing. Their hypocrisy is laughable and it could well cost Romney a devastating primary defeat in his home state of Michigan, where middle class auto workers have better memories than Mitt does.
Osama bin Laden is dead and GM is alive. Long live GM!
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Kevin Foley
March 05, 2012
Ms. Armstrong, I'm trying to understand what your response has to do with my thesis, that the leader of the conservative wing of the GOP, Rush Limbaugh, wanted to see Obama fail. With his approval at 50%, Obama obviously hasn't failed.

Not so long ago, if you were against the president, you were with the terrorists. Using that conservative logic, I pose this question to you: Are you for or against America?

Orly Taitz is Sellin' Crazy; Buyers Aplenty in Georgia
by Kevin_Foley
January 26, 2012 03:23 PM | 1783 views | 1 1 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

I watched a TV report on the Georgia birther hearing, a subpoena to which President Obama rightfully ignored. I was curious to see just who was behind this travesty. I wasn't disappointed.

Guess who showed up as the chief spokeswoman for the plaintiffs? None other than California Birther Queen Orly Taitz, the crazy lady who, a couple of years ago, breathlessly presented an Obama "Kenyan birth certificate" that quickly turned out to be a poor forgery. Taitz is now leading the charge in an Atlanta courtroom to "prove" Obama can't be on the 2012 ballot in Georgia because, the plaintiffs claim, he's not a citizen of the U.S.

Birth certificate duly issued by the state of Hawaii? Not good enough for Orly and her minions.

Having worked around television for 25 years, you see people like Taitz coming out of the woodwork all the time. At the height of the birther insanity, Taitz appeared over and over on TV and radio making her baseless claims. When nobodies like Taitz get hooked on being media "stars," they become like junkies. They can't live without the notoriety. Then, after they've been thoroughly discredited, as Taitz was, they wonder why no TV news/talk producers are calling anymore. Thus, it becomes critical for such sociopaths to grasp at any straw they think will help reignite their imagined "fame."

Welcome to Georgia Orly! I'm not buying your brand of crazy, but you'll find plenty of Obama Derangement Syndrome sufferers hereabouts who will.

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February 21, 2012
Even if Obama was born in Kenya (which he was not - he has his certified and official birth certificate showing he was born in Hawaii), how could the government allow that to surface?

Also, how could the Democrat party (or any party for that matter), allow such a candidate run and then allow it to surface. It would be then end of that party as it would probably lose all credibility.

Imagine the Pandora's Box that would open. What would happen to all the legislation passed under his term as President? Would all that have to be challenged? It would be a huge mess!!

Newt is First Victim of Citizens United Decision
by Kevin_Foley
January 06, 2012 08:26 AM | 1553 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Watching Newt Gingrich getting savaged in Iowa by a withering barrage of TV and radio attack ads paid for by Mitt Romney's super PAC, I couldn't help but chuckle at the irony. Here was the self professed arch-conservative destroyed by his opponent because of a decision the five arch-conservatives on the Supreme Court made in the notorious Citizens United case.
The conservative justices probably never envisioned that the first high profile victim of their ruling, which made legal unlimited campaign spending by nameless, faceless corporations, unions and mega-wealthy Americans, would be the former conservative Speaker of the House and would be GOP president.
Gingrich's campaign was already on life support before he finished a distant fourth in Iowa, so maybe none of it really matters. I'm pretty sure all he really hoped to do was drive up his speaking fees and maybe get himself a book deal so he can go shopping at Tiffany with Callista. But I hope conservatives who cheered the Supreme Court decision were watching, because the unintended consequence of what went down in Iowa is where politics are headed in America. You can thank Justices Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas and Kennedy.
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Feds Nix Vote Suppression Law in S.C.
by Kevin_Foley
December 29, 2011 02:42 PM | 1601 views | 3 3 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
South Carolina's past came back to haunt the state last week when the Department of Justice rejected its new voter identification law, a tarted-up version of the Jim Crow era poll tax. Because of the state's history of electoral abuses aimed at minorities, South Carolina and many other jurisdictions in the South must have any new voting measures likely to affect minorities approved by the U.S. attorney general or a panel of federal judges under the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Proponents insist such laws are needed to stop voting fraud...except voting fraud is virtually non-existent. After an intense investigation by the Bush Justice Department between 2002 and 2006, the government prosecuted exactly zero voting fraud cases despite 300 million ballots cast during that period.
When I told a conservative friend this, he went off on ACORN, which is also non-existent. "I don't understand why people have a problem getting a photo ID," whined another buddy who's a Tea Partier. Not the point, I patiently explained. In the past, you could show up at the polls with a voter registration card and sign an affidavit. Why, suddenly, is it necessary to obtain a government issued picture ID?
Here's a possible answer: The Justice Department told South Carolina its law was discriminatory because minority voters in the state were 20 percent less likely to have a governnment-issued photo ID.

Let's be honest, shall we? African-Americans generally don't favor Republican policies or candidates. This is reflected in the number of minorities who call themselves Republicans, just 11 percent, according to a 2009 Gallup poll. More telling is that 95 percent of African-American voters went for Barack Obama in 2008.
None of this is lost on the GOP-controlled state legislatures that scurried to pass strict new voter ID laws in the wake of Obama's inauguration. The goal is very simple: Place as many obstacles as possible between voting booths and those likely to cast their ballots for Democrats.
It's not going to stand, as the good folks in the Palmetto State learned.

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January 03, 2012
To say there's no voter fraud is an absolute lie. The Democrats have made voter fraud part and parcel of their tactics, everywhere from the smallest county in S.C. to the largest precinct in Chicago.

And just because congress passed the DEFUND ACORN ACT in 2009, that doesn't mean it's gone. It lives on, with names changed and is even getting funds from the Obama Administration in defiance of the law.

New York Communities for Change has funded the Occupy movement. New England United 4 Justice is another spinoff. According to Andrew Breitbart's Big Government blog, Obama’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) gave ACORN $461,086 last January. The funds were earmarked for ACORN Housing Corp. under HUD’s Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP), according to the government website USAspending.gov.

The administration isn’t even trying to conceal the fact that it gave this money to ACORN.

USAspending.gov identifies the recipient as “ACORN Housing Corporation Inc.” even though that nonprofit entity filed papers last year legally changing its name to Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA).

The website also provides the address of record for ACORN Housing as 1024 Elysian Fields Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana. That’s the renovated funeral home that until recently served as headquarters for ACORN’s 370-plus shady affiliates.

This means the Obama administration has given at least $540,905 in taxpayer money to ACORN last calendar year alone.

The money was given to ACORN in defiance of Public Law 111-117 which spells out in pretty clear terms that ACORN should not be funded with taxpayer monies.

Now what was that about voter fraud again?

by Kevin_Foley
December 21, 2011 11:11 AM | 1266 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Conservatives, progressives, Christians, Jews and Muslims, evangelical, agnostic, atheist, rich, middle class, poor, citizen, alien, Democrats, Republicans, independents, undecideds.
Sticking labels on each other has become reflexive in the first years of the 21st century and I'm as guilty as anyone else. Labels are the easy low road.
Looking at another person and seeing the human there is more difficult. It gets even harder when we try to see things the way others see them, to consider their particular points of view and opinions and try to understand how they were formed and what sustains them. It's nearly impossible for many of us to walk in the other person's shoes.
So here we are at Christmas, 2011 and I have a proposal. How about if we Americans take the more difficult high road and quit labeling each other in 2012. Let's call each other Americans and leave it at that. I always think of those graves on the bluffs overlooking the beaches of Normandy and remember that, other than a cross, Star of David or the rare crescent, you will never know who was a conservative and who was a liberal; who was rich and who was poor. They were all just Americans and they died defending what all of us hold dear.
I know mine is a naive wish, but Christmas always brings out the little kid in me.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Holidays, and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to All.
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OWS Dead? Not So Fast
by Kevin_Foley
November 28, 2011 10:38 AM | 1657 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
The catalyst for Occupy Wall Street, the idea that the wealthiest Americans get all the breaks while the middle class and working poor pay for them, remains popular with voters. OWS's call for a level playing field has gained traction with voters who understand the well-to-do have become wealthy because of the rest of us, not despite the rest of us. Some 66 percent of those surveyed in a recent CNN/ORC International poll favor tax increases on wealthier Americans as well as spending cuts on domestic programs.

In an effort to cloud the core issue - the one with which most everyone agrees - the far right noise machine has been working 24-7 to cast OWS and its supporters as (mix and match any of the following) unhygienic, law breaking, Communist, anti-Semitic, fascist, drug-addled, Nazi, whining, sex-crazed, nihilist, Marxist, spoiled, lazy, disorganized, unfocused, stupid, manipulated, socialist.

None of it really matters. A year away from the 2012 elections, GOP lawmakers seem determined to whistle past this graveyard in their effort to protect their well-to-do benefactors.

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Pepper Spray: “Food Product” or Weapon?
by Kevin_Foley
November 23, 2011 02:42 PM | 2582 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
It wasn't Kent State, but it was still appalling.

A group of peaceful students protesting tuition hikes at the University of California Davis were blasted with pepper spray at close range by campus police. This horrific, violent and unprovoked attack was caught by news cameras and scores of mobile devices before instantly going viral.

Bear in mind, in the very first amendment of the United States Constitution we find our right to peaceably assemble is protected. But what happened at UC Davis was eerily reminiscent of how police deal with protesters in Iran or China.

UC Davis police claimed they felt threatened by the crowd, but looking at the video shot by a local news crew, one sees only a bunch of heavily armed and helmeted cops poking batons at kids wielding cell phone cameras and iPads. The police officers who did the spraying seemed utterly nonchalant, as though they were using Raid on pesky mosquitoes at a backyard barbecue.

In an e-mail sent to students and faculty just hours after the police assault on the protesters, UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi seemed to blame the victims: “We deeply regret that many of the protestors today chose not to work with our campus staff and police to remove the encampment as requested.”

A few days later, Katehi was backpedaling as fast as she could as the public relations fallout over the scandal rocked the entireCaliforniauniversity system:

"We told the police to remove the tents or the equipment," Katehi declared. "We told them very specifically to do it peacefully, and if there were too many of them, not to do it, if the students were aggressive, not to do it. And then we told them we also do not want to have another Berkeley."

Well, she got another Berkeley, except Katehi’s happened in the digital age. The visual evidence of her police officers’ abuse is irrefutable. Now calls for her resignation are mounting. UC Davis Professor Nathan Brown’s petition demanding her removal has at least 73,000 signatures. 

“Your words express concern for the safety of our students. Your actions express no concern whatsoever for the safety of our students,” Brown wrote in an open letter. “I deduce from this discrepancy that you are not, in fact, concerned about the safety of our students. Your actions directly threaten the safety of our students.”

Chancellor Katehi’s fate remains uncertain. So far, only UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza and the two officers who pepper sprayed the protesters have been held to account. They’ve been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.

The far right media, which claims to hold the Constitution in high regard, went into mitigation overdrive. Conservative blogger Jim Hoft said spraying the students was, “How to shut down a row of screeching libs in 4 easy swoops.” Fox’s Jim Starnes asked what should be done about “domestic terrorists” on college campuses.

“We don’t have the right to Monday morning quarterback the police,” Bill O’Reilly laughably pronounced. “Especially at a place like UC Davis, which is a fairly liberal campus.”

Pepper spray, observed Megyn Kelly of Fox News, is just a “food product.”

I carry pepper spray when I hike in Montanain case I’m attacked by a grizzly bear. It is an awful weapon, especially when used on humans. Maybe Kelly should sample a dose on the air, perhaps as a salad dressing.

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